Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Eight Bucks a yard or less

I have a lifetime supply of fabric.  My local quilt store The Quilt Zoo sells all of their fabric for 8 bucks or less a yard.  They even have some 2 dollar per yard fabric.  I am tempted.  I resisted that temptation today.  That's not to say that I spent no money there.  I did.  I bought a rotating cutting mat and a template called The Learning Curve.  I have a scrappy quilt in progress, you know.  I will find some solids there for the sashing or the setting blocks if I decide to set the blocks on point.

First thing this morning I was up and on the Nolting for thirty minutes.  Just enough time to quilt the border and do some SID.  More feather work and ruler work later in the day. My reward for having given Wrigley (whom Mom has renamed Willoughby) a hair cut.

I am feeling more fluid with these feathers.  Still having issues connecting where I leave off.  Maybe it's wonky, but it's my wonky and I am not unhappy with the results.  There are some stitches that I will take out.  Some of the feathers look like a whale.  I might just call this quilt, Moby Dick.

I don't think we learn as much when we are ripping out stitches.  I truly believe the best policy is to keep going.  Log in those hours.  Practice is key.  Over and over and over again.

Sunday, May 1, 2016


I admit it.  I am worried.  Fortunately when I am piecing a quilt or working on the Nolting, I can't worry because I have to concentrate.  Piecing is much more relaxing and relatively stress free compared to quilting on the long arm.  Piecing is repetitive.  Quilting requires thought.  Design decisions must be made carefully.

I knew that I wanted to quilt feathers in the white spaces.  I did sketch them out with chalk first then I used the Mark B Gone blue marker that disappears when spritzed.  I did better with the chalk but didn't want that getting in the hook so I switched.  I ended up ripping some stitches out and starting over with the last triangle.

I prefer free hand work over ruler work.  Unfortunately all I could see was ruler work on the blocks.  I want the blocks to stand alone and not be overwhelmed with quilting.  Technically I was not aiming to SID but on some of the seams, that is exactly where I ended up.  This block is strange.  Though the background fabric is the same as the block next to it, the hue is darker.   I don't know why.  I hope it will blend once the quilt is done.  Sigh.

 I have to admit that I am pretty happy with this result.  The triangles do stand out, better seen in reality. I figure that maybe I can sneak a smallish feather in above it.  My inclination is to leave it alone.  Or I could quilt in some triangles.
 I think that I can manage to connect the feathers all the way through the quilt.  I wasn't sure at first. 
 The feather at the end of this row is wonky, that's for sure.  Better a wonky feather than boring stippling, I guess.  Plus, how else will I get better if I don't practice?
We'll see how the rest of it quilts up.  Good for me, I am forging ahead.  Oh, and don't worry about me.  My concerns are all out of my control since I don't have millions of dollars to buy an election. 

Saturday, April 30, 2016


with a 3-5 mph west southwest wind.  A great day for a bike ride.  I was not over dressed for the weather which means that I would have appreciated one more layer.  Once I put my hat on under my helmet I was happier.

We didn't quite make 19 miles but that's OK.  I am woefully out of shape.  No excuses. 

We didn't head out to ride until after lunch.  I had time to start quilting the Block of the Month Quilt (BOMQ) I am getting better with my SID technique.  I find that if I relax, keep my eyes focused on where I am going, instead of watching the needle, I do better.

I wanted a design that would not detract from the bright border.  Piano Keys would work.  I didn't relish ruler work, though.    Using my Westalee echo guide I quilted straight lines free hand. 

Now I am at Design Decision.  I know that I want to quilt feathers in the "negative" space between the blocks.  I just am not so sure about what to do about the triangles.  Feathers, probably.  And what to do with each block?  It isn't so easy custom quilting but I did NOT want to just meander meaninglessly across this quilt.  I think I will just pebble around the Rose Wreath.  That's about all I know for now. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Measure Once, Cut twice

Everyone has their favorite method for measuring a quilt for borders.  I fold the quilt in half, top to bottom, right side out and measure through the center of the quilt, double that measurement and cut two borders that length for the sides.  After I have attached those borders and pressed them I fold the quilt in half lengthwise and measure through the center, double that and cut two borders that length for the top and bottom.  It squares the quilt up quite nicely.  For this quilt I cut the final borders parallel to the selvedge because there is less give in the fabric, thus, creating a more stable border.
I wasn't sure about the flowery fabric for the border.  I  was afraid that it might draw the eye from the blocks.  Needn't have worried, I guess.  I would love more drape, but I have no more suitable fabric. I think I will quit while I am ahead.

I was talking to Mom tonight.  She has trouble finding words sometimes.  She made a comment, referring to her difficulty finding words.
"I'm not that perspicacious, I guess."
 "Now THERE'S a word, Mom.  What's it mean?"
 "Oh I don't know."

I looked it up.
adjective: perspicacious
having a ready insight into and understanding of things.
"it offers quite a few facts to the perspicacious reporter"
synonyms:discerning, shrewd, perceptive, astute, penetrating, observant, percipient, sharp-witted, sharp, smart, alert, clear-sighted, farsighted, acute, clever, canny, intelligent, insightful, wise, sage, sensitive, intuitive, understanding, aware, discriminating;   

 Nice word.   Turns out, she did know, after all. 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Close Enough

   The pattern calls for a 2 inch border in the same fabric as the setting triangles and the background block fabric.  I used a very nice batik but I did not have enough for the border. 
No way was I going to buy more fabric.  I have too much as it is.  I found a bit of another, similar batik and went with it.
 Close enough.

I just don't know what is next, border wise.  I think that the flowery fabric will go next, in a 1 inch border.  Followed by another 1 inch border of the dark green and topped off with a 4 inch border of the flowery stuff again.  It isn't a huge quilt; barely a full.  Should be a fun one to quilt.

Saturday, April 9, 2016


Well over a year ago I signed up for a Block of the Month class.  I made it to one class, maybe two.  Over this winter I would peck away at the project.  I completed the last block today.  Yesterday I set up the design wall to audition the blocks.  (that is a pull string in front of the star on the left)
I had just enough background fabric for the setting triangles.  The pattern calls for an additional 2 inch border all the way around cut from the same fabric.  Since I won't have that I may just go with a dark, narrow border.  Then light, then the flowery focus fabric, then light then ON THE FRAME!

I have completed two columns.  I just don't have a photo to show you.

That Rose Wreath block in the middle was laborious.  I switched out the 201 for the 237 so that I could Zig Zag around the applique.  (I am not a fan of applique)

Boy is that a quiet machine. It treadles beautifully, never spinning backward. It makes a decent straight stitch but I switched back to the 201 just for consistency.  

Steven worked on cleaning his shop today.  I have to get out to mine.  He said as much

Friday, April 8, 2016

This One is for you, Mary. TUTORIAL: Strippy Block

Today, as I was chatting with Mary about quilting, I told her about how I have been using up my scraps.  I mentioned this in a previous blog, but I promised her that I would write a tutorial specific to this method.  So, here it is.

I learned about this technique last year.  I attended a local quilt guild meeting where the speaker described it.  She uses the slippery newspaper ads that come in Sunday's (or other) paper.  Cut them into squares of any size and sew strips of any width to the paper on the diagonal and you have a very colorful scrappy block.

Step One:  Cut some paper to size.  I used five inch blocks.
 Step 2:
Gather your strips.  I prefer one inch strips but any size will do.  Anything less than 3/4 of an inch is really to narrow, IMHO.  Mix light and dark as well as some really bright ones 
Press and sort
 Step 4:
Prep your square.  Smear some gluestick glue on the diagonal of your paper square and place your first strip, right side UP, on the glue.  Press to set the glue.  You can skip the pressing if you want and just put your next strip on top (right side down) and then press if you would like.  Stitch.  When I am using very narrow strips, I use the 1/8 in seam.

It is recommended that you set your stitch length to a small stitch and a #90 needle. 

But don't set your stitch length too short or it will cut the paper and you won't have it for the foundation anymore.  AMHIK.  This is a European 201. Between 1 and 1.5 was too small.  Just over 1.5 was ok.  I thought it was closer to 2.  I need new glasses.   For an American gauge I think 15 SPI is ok. 
 As you can see I started over.
Press the seam open and place another strip on top of either strip.
Stitch.  I used a 1/4 in seam on this one.  You can do either.  The narrower your seam allowance, the wider the finished strip, right?
Keep adding strips on each side.  I usually complete one side and then finish up the other.  It doesn't matter one bit if you go back and forth.

When you get close to the corner, audition a wider strip to see if it will fit when stitched and pressed over.  Here you see there is just a wee little bit of the corner peeking through.  True, that would be caught in the seam allowance when sewing these blocks together, but I like to have plenty. 
So I added just a narrow little strip
And now it is just right
Keep working outward until you have covered the whole piece of paper.
Square it up.  I like to use a squaring ruler because the original paper may not be cut exactly to size.
Use any size square you would like.  The principle is the same.  Have fun.  Use up those scraps.  Free Quilts